Abiotic Factors & Plants: A Local Pollution Study with Global Implications
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Experiment: Monitoring Acid Rain
Is your rain water acidic? Normal rain is slightly acidic, about 5.5 on the pH scale. Acid Rain measures anywhere from 3.5 to 5.5 on the pH scale and falls in the form of nitric or sulfuric acid. This has been shown to have a harmful effect on the environment.
water pH test kit
Set up a monitoring station somewhere in the school yard or on a window ledge. Rainwater is easily contaminated so place a rain gauge in an open area away from trees and debris.
Make a chart to monitor results. The chart will be used for two weeks and will monitor precipitation, wind speed and direction. Check the newscast or newspaper for wind information. Observe the rain gauge daily and record type and amount of precipitation. Check the precipitation from pH by putting a strip of pH test paper in the rain gauge. Hold the test paper with tweezers and keep in rain water for two minutes. Remove the pH strip and compare its color to the color on your pH color chart which comes with the test kit.
Empty the rain gauge, rinse and place in back for the next day. Rinse it our daily to remove contaminants. Record data daily. After two weeks, analyze your results and state a conclusion. Use the Lab format presented with Observing the Effect of Pollutants on Plant Growth.
Pollutants in water interferes with plant growth in many ways. Water pollution leaks into the soil and may prevent absorption or damage roots the roots system which helps provide nutrients throughout the plant. Water pollution is also in the form of acid rain. Acid rain damages leaves as well as the root and stem systems. .Acid rain is more acidic than normal rain and forms through a complex process of chemical reactions involving air pollution. The two most important pollutants that contribute to the formation of acid rain are oxides of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide, which react with moisture in the atmosphere to form nitric and sulfuric acid. The sulfur and nitrogen compounds that contribute to acid rain primarily come from man-made sources, such as industries and utilities. Emissions also come from automobiles and other forms of transportation and industrial processes, such as smelting. Pollutants that contribute to acid rain may be carried hundreds of miles before being deposited on the earth. Because of this, it is sometimes difficult to determine the specific sources of these acid rain pollutants. Water and air pollution are related due to interdependencies in cycles of nature